Lettuce is the leaves of the lettuce plant. There are two main types
of lettuce: head lettuce and leaf lettuce. The most familiar type of
head lettuce is iceberg, but others include butterhead and romaine.
Leaf lettuce comes in a variety of shapes and colours. Some have broad
leaves; some have curly leaves; others have reddish leaves.
HOW IS LETTUCE
Lettuce can be grown in fields or in greenhouses. For field lettuce,
lettuce is seeded in a greenhouse and planted out as soon as the bed
can be prepared. Some producers precision seed the lettuce directly
into the field. Leaf lettuce is harvested about 50 days after planting
while head lettuce takes closer to 75 days. Lettuce is planted in consecutive
plantings so that there is a supply available throughout the growing
season. That is, as soon as the first planting has germinated and emerged,
the second planting is seeded. Head lettuce is harvested with the help
of a mechanical harvesting aid, whereas the leaf lettuces are usually
harvested by hand into cartons in the field.
In greenhouses, the lettuce is seeded
in peat blocks and transplanted to the final media in 2 to 3 weeks in
the summer or 4 to 6 weeks in the winter. The most common kind of lettuce
grown in greenhouses is butterhead lettuce, which is loose heads of
tender, rounded leaves. It is mature at 150 to 300g a head. The full
cycle takes 6 to 7 weeks in summer and 10 to 12 weeks in the winter.
LETTUCE LOOK LIKE WHEN I USE IT?
Lettuce is used fresh in salads or sandwiches and as a garnish.
AFTER THE LETTUCE LEAVES THE FARM?
Once a truck is loaded with cartons, it is taken to the pack house where
the lettuce is cooled immediately. It can then be held in cold storage
or shipped directly to wholesale distributors in reefer (cooled) trucks.
A general rule of thumb is that lettuce loses one day of shelf life
for every hour that it is not cooled after harvest. Expected shelf life
for lettuce is approximately two weeks. The majority of sales are in
UK with some export sales into into Erupe.
DOES THE LETTUCE PRODUCER FACE?
Lettuce is quite sensitive to most herbicides. Growers must find alternative
ways to control weed growth during the growing season. Crop rotation,
thorough clean-up of weeds before seeding, and tilling between rows
are all practices which can help limit weed growth and labour intensive
hand weeding. Growers also face intense competition from from abrord.
IN PRODUCING LETTUCE?